Professor of Medicine

Overview

Ulrike Mende, MD, FAHA, graduated from Medical School at the University of Hamburg in Germany, and trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Hamburg and in the Cardiovascular Division of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She launched her career as an independent scientist and Principal Investigator (PI) at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where she was promoted to Assistant Professor of Medicine in 2000. In 2005, Dr. Mende was recruited by Rhode Island Hospital and Brown Medical School as Associate Professor and co-founding PI of the newly established Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC).  She was appointed Professor of Medicine in 2015 and is a co-founding faculty member of the recently established Center to Advance Predictive Biology (CAPB) at Brown University.    

Dr. Mende’s background is in pharmacology, cell signaling and molecular cardiology, and her research focus has been on the regulation of cardiac growth, contractile function, and heart rate via G protein-mediated signaling pathways in the healthy and diseased heart. Her laboratory investigated how perturbations in heterotrimeric G proteins and their regulators (Regulators of G protein Signaling or ‘RGS proteins’) in cardiac myocytes and fibroblasts contribute to the development of cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis, heart failure and arrhythmias, with the long-term goal of identifying potential new therapeutic targets and strategies for pharmacological or genetic therapies. The focus of her laboratory was initially on the molecular mechanisms that link perturbations in myocyte signaling to cardiac hypertrophy and failure. She then expanded her investigations to cardiac fibroblasts and their role in the cardiac remodeling response, and ultimately to cross-talk between myocytes and fibroblasts. To that end, her team developed a new 3D co-culture model for studies of the regulation of rat cardiomyocytes by cardiac fibroblasts, with a special focus on the arrhythmic implications. This work formed the foundation for on-going collaborative studies conducted in the laboratories of Dr. Kareen Coulombe and Dr. Bum-Rak Choi in human cardiac microtissues with translational potential for a variety of applications, including cardiotoxicity testing. 

Dr. Mende’s research has been supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the American Heart Association (AHA) for 20 years. She served as grant reviewer on many NIH study sections, special emphasis and program project review panels since 2007, most recently as a member of the study section for ‘Cardiac Contractility, Hypertrophy, and Failure’ (CCHF).  In addition, she has longstanding experience as a member, co-chair and chair of AHA study groups and served on the AHA Founders Affiliate Research Committee and AHA Peer Review Steering Committee.  She was selected as a Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA) in 2006. Her expertise as a reviewer for international funding agencies include the Human Frontier in Science Program (HSFP) as well as the UK Medical Research Council (MCR) and National Centre for the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of Animal Research (NC3Rs).

Dr. Mende has been a faculty advisor and mentor to many postdoctoral fellows (at Harvard and Brown) as well as undergraduate and graduate students (at Brown only). From 2008-2013, she served as a mentor and executive committee member on a Brown CardioPulmonary Research T32 Training Program.  Since 2006, she has also been mentoring junior faculty and fostering their career development, in part as a faculty mentor and executive committee member on two Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE in Perinatal Biology and CardioPulmonary Vascular Biology COBRE).  Since 2019, she is part of the leadership team and a curriculum committee member for the Advance-K Scholar Career Development Program, a year-long program sponsored by the Brown University Division of Biology and Medicine and Advance-CTR that provides qualified junior faculty with individualized training to prepare and submit extramural career development award applications (NIH K-series or equivalent).

Dr. Mende’s formal training in mentoring includes the Culture Change (‘C-Change’) Mentoring and Leadership Institute at Brandeis University and training as a Facilitator for a mentoring training program developed by the NIH-funded National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN). Based on successful implementations of evidence-based 8.5-hour mentoring training sessions for Advance-CTR both at Brown University and the University of Rhode Island, she was recognized as a ‘NRMN-Certified Facilitator’ in 2018.  In addition, she has developed and facilitated 2-hour training sessions on optimizing mentoring relationships for graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty in the context of RCR (Responsible Conduct in Research) training programs at Brown University and for Alpert Medical School (AMS) faculty and residents in the context of the AMS Program in Educational Faculty Development.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas